Jordan River cleanup cont.

Guest Commentary by Mitch MacKay

FURTHER TO INITIATIVE FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES, this effort continues and is relatively successful.

Follows a letter from Tom (Tinker) Breakey of the Jordan River Action Group:

The River project by the Jordan River Action Group has been going real good.

The last two years the Lions Club here in East Jordan has taken on the job of maintaining the collection totes at the four access sites on the river.

We have a good working relationship with the DNR.

As Young State Park has control of all the sites on the Jordan River, we are allowed by them to deposit all the trash collected into the dumpster at Graves Crossing State Forest Campground.

For the consideration of having our collections sites on the river, we have a $50 per year permit fee which we pay to the DNR.

Since beginning in 2009, over 1600 bags of trash and over 100,000 returnable products have been collected.

It has very much helped the river.

Our Red River Bags, used to put trash and returnables in during one’s river trip, cost 42 cents each.

Sponsors help with their LOGO being put on the bags.

However, there are other costs involved like garbage bags, vandalism repair … that we have to cover also.

We are a 501c3 group, so if anyone would like to make a donation they can do so and would be much appreciated:  Jordan River Action Group, Post Office Box 215, East Jordan, Michigan 49727.


This began with a few East Jordan residents encountering floating debris on the Jordan River.

Through falderal and rigmarole of socio-legal finagling this finally emerged as a workable community effort with these various groups now more or less amalgamated in common ground, common river, interest.

Friends of the Jordan and Jordan River Action Group, nonprofits since 1995 and 2015 respectively, join with the DNR, Lions, and other groups and individuals in preserving the bucolic nature of this trout stream of historic beauty.

Unpretentiousness is its appeal, no wild Colorado, or Niagara, a peaceful stream meandering down the slope from behind Larry’s Bar on US-131, a landmark tavern and all-in-one junction point for travelers now renamed SEVEN SKI INN, a la Larry and Dorothy Sevenski who’ve owned and operated it for more than fifty years.

Before that “Old Stan” ran the place, or most often was found asleep at the counter when after dark travelers would stop in for gas and a beer.

The old “Yukon Mosquito” is presumably still on display somewhere there, an artistic representation of the mosquito family enlarged to raven size.

Many of those old local farmers were deft craftsmen and women.

As formerly reported, the river springs forth from behind the inn complex and wends its way down the hillside known as DEADMAN’S HILL which may be driven by dirt trail in warm months.

A local girl by name Nancy Bartholomew photographed the sand-filled harbor in about 2008, the result of sand and silt carried downstream due to runoff and various unchecked means of abuse of the waterway.

Locals Sherm and Peggy Thomas were in on this initiative, as was Veterinarian Dr. John Richter formerly, but Tinker Breakey deserves most recent credit for the fledgling transitional effort to bring fruition to the now-organized cleanup we see today. 

In early 1960s when first encountered, this river was absolutely pristine.

No trash floated, no sandy silty detritus emanated anywhere.

Hopping from stone to stone or fallen tree to clump of earth was a child’s garden of earthly delights.

There are many picturesque landings along the 33-mile stream as it wends and winds its way to the lake though weirs and bridges had interfered here and there with the natural flow.

Some efforts to undo obstructions have been mounted.

Winding dirt trails throughout the Jordan Valley are drivable in summer months and hikers are a normal sight.

Marsh Road which from M-32 leads directly to the State Forest trails finally connects with the Alba road leading to that town.

There are marshes for which the road is named, almost lakes but shallow, presumably runoff from the river or tributaries nearby.

It truly is, mostly remains, a treasure trove of natural wonder to behold, remaining primevally bucolic at its upriver flow but tarnished the more the water encounters civilization. 

We really can’t say enough in praise of those who make an effort at preservation or at least removal of encumbrances to nature.

It’s doubtful the estuary can ever be restored to former state but the river itself may be kept clean and freely flowing.

No one knew, of course, that such devastation would occur but here it is and thankfully there are some few who dedicate their time, and money, to keeping what’s left to restore itself if possible.

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